Nestled in the rolling hills of Maryland's countryside, the Wakefield Valley Golf Club showcases three different nine-hole courses. Each course presents a unique set of challenges, with the green course showcasing lengthy par 5s and the white course challenging golfers with hilly terrain and water holes that lure errant shots and experimental scuba-tank golf bags. The gold course, meanwhile, sets up demanding tee shots into narrow fairways, as seen on its signature eighth hole, where water guards the green on all sides.
Golfers can warm up for rounds at the driving range and practice green or employ the swing-honing advice of PGA Professional Scott Magee, who teaches enough students to believe that he will find one who can pull a putter from a stone. Guests can also refuel rumbling stomachs with casual food and drinks at Fenby’s Restaurant.
Supper Thyme's goal is to de-stress the breakfast, lunch, and dinner hours by inviting visitors to craft hearty and nutritious meals beforehand. After perusing the monthly rotating menu, customers can select an assortment of calorie-conscious, family-friendly, or organically inspired dishes and schedule an appointment to come in and assemble the ingredients. Staff members then gather all of the necessary ingredients and utensils, ensuring that each meal can be assembled in as few as 10 minutes. In between portioning out servings, visitors can enjoy a snack while listening to music or chatting with fellow attendees in the shop’s casual, low-stress kitchen environment. The meals can remain safely frozen in homes' freezers, with easy-to-follow cooking instructions allowing customers to quickly thaw and cook entrees whenever they might need to feed families, guests, or a lost restaurant reviewer.
To get a sense of The Greene Turtle's commitment to the neighborhood, one need only sit at the bar and look up. Dozens of mugs hang above the counter, emblazoned with the pub's logo and a unique number—each one belongs to a recurring patron. The Mug Club awards its members with draft-beer discounts and other specials, but more importantly, it allows loyal patrons to feel as though they own small slices of the venue without tattooing their names on the bartender's arm. This sense of shared familiarity is what fuels the entire franchise, which refrains from calling its locations "restaurants" in favor of friendlier terms: gathering places, communities, havens.
Many of the locations contribute more than mugs to their districts. Staff members who participate in the annual Tips for Tots program donate the entirety of one day's tips to a nearby Toys for Tots initiative, and Tuesday Funds for Friends events benefit local organizations. These efforts have been chronicled by press sources such as Food and Drink magazine, with features that liken The Greene Turtles' philanthropic generosity to the generous portions of comfort food that leave the kitchens.
From cheeseburger sliders and flatbread pizzas to handmade lump-crab cakes, the offerings on the menu embrace barroom traditions along with ingenuity. The steak and chicken entrees arrive with classic sides of green beans and yukon gold mashed potatoes, whereas the eastern shore mac ‘n’ cheese updates a comfort staple with chopped bacon, lump crab, scallions, and Old Bay seasoning. Diners can enjoy their meals by the glow of private flat-screen TVs—there's one in every booth—or beneath one of many larger televisions broadcasting sports games throughout the venue.
No matter how busy Legends Caf? is, the same pair of seats is always taken. And by the same diners, too: the life-sized sculptures of the Blues Brothers, which patrons often pose with for pictures and fruitlessly heckle to sing. Elwood and Jake aren't the only movie stars represented here??black-and-white photos of legendary celebs like James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor adorn the dining room's exposed brick walls.
Despite all this front-of-the-house star power, the real star of Legends Caf? is its co-owner and head chef, Jim Fields. The classically trained culinary wizard crafts an extensive menu that puts an upscale twist on steak-house staples. His team tosses wings in rosemary and black truffle oil and crowns burgers with jumbo shrimp, crabmeat, and an original Old Bay spread. Mains run the gamut from new york strip steaks basted with bourbon and brown sugar sauce to ricotta-stuffed ravioli soaked in roasted garlic cream sauce.
At Casa Rica-The Mexican Food Place, the chicken, shrimp, and veggies are fashioned into two very different cuisines: Mexican and Indian. On the Mexican side of the menu, tortillas form the base of burritos, enchiladas, and quesadillas stuffed with chicken and cheese. Chefs cut and bake tortillas to build nacho towers piled with seasoned beef, melted cheese, jalapenos, guacamole, and dollops of sour cream. They also swaddle tamales in a corn husk wrapper before cooking, and stuff green chiles with jack cheese before deep-frying. On the Indian side of things, coriander, cumin, garlic, and ginger deliver the quintessential Indian flavors to such dishes as tandoori chicken, lamb saag, and shrimp biryani. The chefs eschew meat in a number of vegetarian dishes, including chickpeas submerged in a curry sauce and samosas stuffed with potatoes and peas.
The strum of a banjo or the jangling of spurs would not be out of place at Gunner’s Grille at Taneytown, where wood planks line the walls and wagon-wheel fixtures flank the dining room. Gunner––owner Brooke Haggerty’s father––receives homage as Brooke and crew serve his favorite comfort foods, among them New England clam chowder and grilled cheese and tomato sandwich on potato bread. While the kitchen staff smothers chicken-fried steak with creamy gravy and the parsley baked potatoes with butter, Brooke has revamped other comforting classics to be healthier, blending bison and turkey into the meatloaf muffins, and stacking burgers with turkey or veggie patties. The kitchen staff procures as many local ingredients as possible, with some area farmers tending crops exclusively for the eatery. Beef and turkey arrives on the doorstep every day, and seafood flies in three times a week, hitching a ride with the storks. Diners can complement their meals with one of 60 beers or 50 wines, or the occasional musical act.